Fleet News

Funding boost for low carbon vehicle development

Public and private sector investment totalling £56 million will lead to the development and demonstration of technologies to cut carbon emissions from road transport and accelerate the commercialisation of low carbon vehicles.

More than £27 million of public funding, from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles and the Technology Strategy Board, together with £29 million of private sector funding, will be invested in seventeen major research, development and validation projects. While many of the projects will be led by major vehicle manufacturers such as Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover and Nissan a large number of small and medium-sized companies, including suppliers, will be closely involved in the development work.

Transport Minister, Norman Baker MP, said: "Accelerating the commercialisation of low carbon vehicle technologies will help to achieve our challenging climate change targets as well as creating new jobs, and increasing opportunities for UK businesses on the world stage.

"It is great to see such a positive response from industry to this competition, with the winning projects covering a range of vehicle technologies from manufacturers, suppliers and universities."

Business and Enterprise Minister, Mark Prisk MP, said: "By working with industry to invest in innovative research and development we are putting the UK at the cutting edge of low carbon vehicle technology - delivering long term benefits for the economy and the environment."

The aim of the projects is to strengthen UK capability by encouraging a reduction of costs in the supply base and a faster adoption of new technologies on UK roads, with a focus on pulling technology through the various stages of the innovation chain.

Iain Gray, chief executive of the Technology Strategy Board, said: "We were extremely impressed by the number and quality of the ideas presented to us.

"These include proposals for development and validation activity that follow-on from previous early-stage projects funded by the Technology Strategy Board and it is great to see that these ideas will be brought closer to market through this new investment."

The projects include:
• The development of a complete EV drive system that incorporates motor, controller and gearbox, cooling and connectors within a single cast plug and play package. The outputs will be low cost, with a range of power outputs, and suitable for integration across multiple OEM vehicle platforms (led by Ashwoods Automotive).

• ‘Car for Young Drivers’ will deliver novel, low carbon transport solutions to alleviate the issues associated with getting young drivers safely integrated into the vehicle owning and driving population. The project will produce a quadricycle vehicle for 2 people that features novel hybrid driveline technology, lightweight impact-resistant body and features designed specifically to appeal to young drivers (led by Mi Technology Group).

• The development of a production-ready flywheel hybrid midibus by 2014, targeting a 15% reduction in fuel consumption. The product could lead to a revolution in fuel consumption and emissions of the Wrightbus midibus fleet and, through future retro-fit projects, for existing vehicles (led by Wrightbus).

• The development of ground-breaking woven 3D reinforcement systems for automotive components. CO2 emissions can be directly addressed by using lightweight, low inertia materials, such as aluminium matrix composites (AMCs), which can combine the strength and stiffness of steels with the weight of aluminium. This work builds on a previous Technology Strategy Board-funded project, which proved the feasibility of using AMC inserts (led by Jaguar).

The companies leading the projects are: Artemis Intelligent Power, Ashwoods Automotive, Delta Motorsport, Ford, GKN Structures, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mi Technology Group, Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK, Nissan Technical Centre Europe, Prodrive Automotive Technology (Europe), Ricardo UK, Turbo Power Systems and Wrightbus.

The competition and funding is managed by the Technology Strategy Board through the Low Carbon Vehicles Innovation Platform (LCVIP), which promotes low carbon vehicle research, design, development and demonstration in the UK. The platform has provided £300 million of innovation investment for low carbon vehicle research and development since it was established in 2007.

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